Woosh Washrooms

People will avoid certain brands like a bad smell… Don’t let yours be one of them.

No one wants to walk into a washroom that is unclean or missing essential consumables like soap and toilet paper; less still do visitors want to discover an unpleasant smell. Yet malodours are typically the first thing that are noticed by visitors when entering a washroom, setting the course for the remainder of a person’s visit.

We now know that visitors will use the state of a company’s washroom as a benchmark for a business, regarding those with poorly maintained assets and facilities as far less favourable to work with or buy from. Air quality is just one of a number of factors that has an influence on this vital first impression. In many ways, the entire washroom experience stands and falls with the quality of air care, making it one of the most critical features of washroom management, particularly for companies that take their visitors’ perception and overall reputation seriously.  

But why is smell such a big factor?
One answer to this question lies in the world of neuroscience. As an article in Psychology Today points out, the hippocampus, a region of the brain that regulates emotions, is now known as the site in which time-and-place ‘smell memories’ are encoded. This encoding process leaves individuals associating smells with a powerful ‘spatiotemporal’ moment which can be triggered when the individual again encounters an odour in similar or even completely different environments.

This process and the memories that are created are understood to be very difficult to alter or erase, making the washroom air quality challenge all the more important for businesses concerned with setting the right tone. The issue only takes on greater significance when factoring in the huge amount of research that suggests the lopsided power that bad memories have over good ones. In other words, if a visitor has had a bad washroom experience, particularly due to malodour, they are more likely to remember that time more vividly than other more positive occasions.

So how can you assure a positive experience?
And what are the pros and cons of the options available to businesses? Not all air fresheners were created equal and some are better suited to certain cases than others. Let’s take a look at them.   

First up is the aerosol auto-dispenser.
This is found across all different types of washrooms, particularly public loos as they are the most cost-effective way to eliminate bad smells. While these are definitely the most budget-friendly solution, the freshening smell that they dispense will disappear far quicker than other options on the market. They also have a higher impact on the environment. As such, aerosols are likely not the best option for businesses that bring lots of important clients into their offices, or for those that have green aspirations.

Secondly, you have reed diffusers.
These are now a staple in many homes but are increasingly being seen in the washroom environment. Reed diffusers are excellent at sustaining a fragrance, offering all manner of sophisticated smells that are not only easy on the eyes and nose but also friendly to the environment. The downside is their cost due to the heavy use of expensive essential oils and the need to buy multiples for larger washrooms. Businesses should also watch out for kit-style diffuser packs which will likely contain synthetic fragrances that are home to all manner of unsafe chemicals. Diffusers are excellent for executive-level offices and design-conscious companies that want to impress visitors no matter the cost.

Finally, you have cold air diffusers.
These are the most sophisticated option available to businesses yet also the most expensive. Much like reed diffusers, cold air diffusers are now becoming a staple of the modern home but are also being seen in greater numbers throughout the office and washroom environment. Nebulisers will atomise the essential oils that are most often added with water. This mixture is then propelled out of the unit, releasing whatever fragrance or essential oil has been chosen. Some of these products can be noisy, though many are designed to operate as quietly as possible. For Woosh these are a real winner, typically getting the best feedback from customers and visitors to our clients’ washrooms.  

Want to know more about air quality and washroom management excellence? Download our BLooprint here:

The BLooprint – The Facilities Manager’s Guide To Effective Washroom Management

Today marks the launch of our landmark guide for the facilities management industry.

As you may have guessed, this document, which will be the first edition of a series we’ve called the ‘BLooprint’, is all about washroom management – how it’s done, why it matters, and what the experts think. The premise of the BLooprint is simple: it looks to equip FMs with the knowledge they need in order to manage and maintain truly outstanding washrooms.

So, why have we written this? Having engaged with notable industry figures like Martin Pickard, Beth Goodyear and Liz Kentish, we found that there was a gap in knowledge that needed filling. These three contributors showed us that a go-to guide would be ideal for FMs looking to raise the standard of their facilities, especially for those who are new to the profession and unsure of best practice.

As conversations with the three contributors progressed, it became clear that washrooms are an often overlooked yet critically important aspect of an FM’s remit, with little direction or advice out there in the public domain. This is ultimately why we have started the BLooprint series. We believe this edition will provide FM professionals with the final word on how to achieve washroom excellence.

Granted, there are bigger things in life than washrooms and it should be a given that they are properly cared for. All too often, however, building users are let down and have to put up with less than satisfactory facilities. This needs to change.  

Let’s put this in perspective. The typical office worker pops to the loo around three to four times a day. For an average-sized facility, that’s over 1.1 million complaint opportunities per year – and that’s leaving aside other visitors and important guests. What if instead these visits were opportunities to leave a positive impact? With edition one of the BLooprint series to hand, this becomes a far more realistic target. It gives readers the advice they need to fundamentally change how their washrooms are managed, dramatically increasing the chances of turning a potentially bad impression into a wholly positive one.

Research has found that a bad washroom experience has a profoundly negative impact on the perception of an organisation, with visitors being far less likely to spend time or money with a company that has a poorly maintained building and facilities. “Toilets are a touchstone of building,” says FM ‘guru’ Martin Pickard, “if you want to know whether a building is being cared for or not, go in the loo, and you can just tell whether somebody’s got their handle of this place and are looking after it properly.”

It’s not just reputational damage that results from poor washrooms, though. Consider the financial impact that it can also have. In 2016 alone, there were an estimated 137 million working days lost due to sickness or injury – and that’s just the UK. As Pickard again goes on to highlight the “obvious yet decidedly ignored connection between washroom hygiene and a company’s profit margins.”

Management is one thing; effective management is another. We recognise the FM industry’s tendency to prefer data and ‘hard facts’, which is why there’s a quantitative approach to accompany the opinions of our FM luminaries. Taking on board both the qualitative and the quantitative approaches, readers will be able to build a clearer picture of how a washroom functions, how it impacts an organisation, and what needs to be done to see it sparkle all year round.